Opponents to Southeastern CT High Speed Rail Speak Out in Hartford

There has been little, if any, public support voiced for a controversial expansion of high speed rail, that's currently mapped to go through Old Lyme, New London, Stonington and Mystic, among other sections of southeastern Connecticut.

During a hearing Monday on a measure that would provide a clear policy position for the state- that would say it is formally opposed to the Federal Rail Administration's proposal- lawmakers heard from residents who feel they've been slighted.

“There is some sentiment that we definitely feel as a sort of after-thought," said Lisa Kornicki, a lifelong resident of southeastern Connecticut, who currently resides in Stonington.

Kornicki said the current proposal, to bore a tunnel below Old Lyme, and add a pair of new tracks, could devastate the community.

“So, imagine if you’re a homeowner or a business, you now have that gray cloud hanging over you for the next 30 years and people will make that information part of their decision making process as to whether or not they buy your property, so absolutely, that’s a factor.”

The proposal was formulated under the Obama Administration and the FRA is currently without an administrator.

“It is now up to states, cities and railroads to take next steps and decide whether to move forward with any specific projects identified in the NEC FUTURE Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). Each individual project will require more review and more environmental studies, as well as significant funding. The FRA will continue to accept and review feedback on the NEC FUTURE Tier 1 Final EIS until publication of the Record of Decision (ROD), which is not anticipated prior to March 1, 2017," the FRA said in a statement

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy and Congressman Joe Courtney have all said on multiple occasions that they would work to stop the plan before it even entered a planning phase.

Rep. Devin Carney who sponsored the resolution in the Connecticut House of Representatives, said he think an official action by the state of Connecticut would be a clear message that Connecticut wants a different path for high speed rail.

“This proposal doesn’t benefit Southeast Connecticut. It doesn’t benefit the town of Old Lyme, the town of Stonington, or other towns the city of New London, where it would go through,” Carney said. 

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